No. 10: “Three Little Words”

No. 10: “Three Little Words”

No. 10: “Three Little Words”

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
March 11 1998 3:30 AM

No. 10: “Three Little Words”

No. 10: "Three Little Words"

By Randy Cohen


Despite growing competition from Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Bertelsmann, the online bookseller is achieving its basic goal, defined by CEO Jeffrey Bezos in three words. Which three words?

(Hints--not "nude Pynchon photos," not "no damn coffee.")


by noon ET on Tuesday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Thursday's Question (No. 9)--"Yoshii Wants the 5 Spot":


I give the (actual) headline; you give (a brief summary of) the story. From the New York Post: "YOSHII WANTS THE 5 SPOT."

"This is the slogan written on Japan's best selling new strawberry scented, kitty festooned pencil case that has been taken up by New York gangs as part of a covert drug trade code, forcing the NYPD to retain the services of Michiko Watanabe, Sachiko Moritsugu, and Noriko Hagiwara, all 14 years of age, who are educating New York's finest in this and other sinister phrases such as: 'Let's go to the ski!' 'She is of pretty marriage age,' 'Kiss boy in moon and star.' "--David Rakoff

"The story refers to new Mets starting pitcher Masato Yoshii and his demand to be excused from practice weekdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. so he can watch back-to-back episodes of The Simpsons on the Superstation."--Beth Sherman

"The Post's popular new column, 'Cindy Adams' Haiku,' featured the following entry, referring to Cindy's experience at a performance of the Tokyo Shock Boys, at which Yoshii, the show's star, reached down the throat of an audience volunteer (Joey Adams) to retrieve a $5 bill:


'Yoshii Wants the 5 Spot'
Hand entered Joey
Reaching down for the money
Asian foolery!"--Meg Wolitzer

"It's a typo. Should read: 'Yeeesh! Starr Subpoenas Intern's G-Spot!' "--Patty Marx

"Yoshii is sharing a lifelong dream to be Cher's fifth spouse."--Ashby Shoop

"MacArthur's bastard son lobbies for dad's mug on the $5 bill."--Brad Haas


"A Kyoto bellhop has become suspicious that the Clinton administration will not, in fact, name him ambassador to Switzerland, contrary to promises made in '96 by a mysterious, contribution-seeking man in a gray trench coat. Now Yoshii Kamura is demanding his credentials or else he wants his five bucks back, 'and fast.' "--Jeff Book

"Agents for rapper Puff Daddy announced today that he has been acquired by the Hayalitakiti Corp. of Japan, manufacturers of 'Hello Kitty' merchandise. Plans for a line of 'Hello Daddy' action figures, plush toys, and greeting cards are expected to be announced next month. Mr. Daddy's next single, which had been due out next week, has been delayed and renamed 'Yoshii Wants the 5 Spot'. Asked what the title means, Mr. Daddy stated only: '$15 million .' "--Greg Diamond

"What do the Japanese love more than jazz or real estate? Jazz and real estate. This week, the hurler Yoshii, who is angling for a spot in the Yankees' pitching rotation, took a break from negotiations and threw a blooper when he offered to buy the long-defunct Gotham nightclub the 5 Spot. Unfazed when told that the 5 Spot had been out of business for a couple of decades, the Occidental Tourist immediately switched gears and said he would instead buy the 'old' Times Square when it came on the block at Christie's later this year."--Nancy Franklin

"I believe this story is about Yoshii the whale (a distant, estranged cousin of Keiko, a k a 'Free Willy') wanting to find the innermost point of sexual satisfaction in each and every one of the Kienast quints. (As I'm sure you know, only three of the Dionne quintuplets are still with us, and they are not, quite frankly, much to look at.) The real answer is that Yoshii is a Japanese pitcher who is trying to win the fifth and final spot in the New York Mets' starting rotation. And unlike the Dionne girls, Yoshii is a bit of shoulder candy."--Larry Amaros


Randy's Wrap-Up

America lacks the basic conditions for mocking the national characteristics of its neighbors, i.e. neighbors. Muddling along with merely two (assuming Canada has national characteristics), we forego that staple of world humor, the multinational joke: a Russian, a Swede, an Englishman, and an Italian walk into a bar ... The punch line runs something like: "The German had her efficiently shot, and the Frenchman took her to bed in an intellectually pretentious manner." (I recall the payoff, but not the setup, of a Dutch anti-Belgian joke: "Put him in a round room and tell him there are French fries in the corner.") It's a cultural tradition we can only envy. Given our national handicap, I believe the quiz respondents admirably handled the Japanese challenge. And, by the way, three little maids from school are me.

Hard-Throwing Right-Handed Answer:

As many of you knew, New York Mets hurler Masato Yoshii is vying for the fifth spot in the pitching rotation. A 14 year veteran in Japan but a National League rookie, he threw good stuff last week in a spring training game, going against his old friend and former teammate Hideo Nomo, the 1995 National League Rookie of the Year, who pitches for the Los Angeles Dodgers. FYI: The next two pitchers brought into the game were the Koreans Jae Weong Seo and Chan Ho Park.

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